The Forum provides opportunities for community members to offer public presentations on their scholarly and other interests. The Forum meets on most Thursday afternoons during the academic year, from 4:15-5:15pm. Presentations are informal, generally lasting about 40 minutes, and are followed by a question and discussion period to end the hour.

All are welcome to attend — students are especially encouraged — and refreshments are provided.

September 10, 2015
Jeff Kamakahi
TRC Board Room - CSB
Mele ‘Ōiwi: Some Aspects of Genealogical Songs in the Context of Hawaiian History
Genealogical research is a social enterprise that involves an array of methods, data, and expressions. Mele (songs or chants) are included among the data and expressions of genealogical information in Hawai`i. Over more than four decades, my brother and I worked on our family’s genealogy. The research is still ongoing. I will focus upon mele that he composed that incorporated parts of that research. The mele will include Wahine `Ilikea, Nā Ali`i Pu`ōlani, and Nā Makani Ehā. Among the issues referred to will be the importance of ‘āina (place), Polynesian genealogical chants, traditional naming conventions, intra-familial relations and individual status, the “unification” in the form of the Kingdom, the mandate of Christian first names, the privatization of real property (the Māhele), and the reconstructions of Native Hawaiian genealogies in the context of “modernization.” 

September 17, 2015
Rebecca Berru Davis with Sisters Ruth Feeney and Moira Wild

Haehn Museum - CSB
Listening with the Ear of Our Heart: Testimonies of Courage and Hope as Expressed by Women from the Global South and North as Documented in Church, Community, Creativity, an Exhibit at the Haehn Heritage Museum
This presentation highlights the exhibition Church, Community, Creativity, currently on display at the Haehn Museum at St. Benedict’s Monastery until December 23. The exhibit is the result of a collaboration between the Sisters of St. Benedict and Rebecca Berru Davis, from the Theology Department at CSB/SJU. The exhibition features the ministerial work carried out by the Sisters in the favelas of Brazil and barrios of Chile beginning in the 1960s, during the emergence of liberation theology. It also focuses on Dr. Berru Davis’ current research on women artists working in cooperatives in the shantytowns of Lima, Peru. By “listening” to selected visual and documented testimonies of women from Brazil, Chile, and Peru, Dr. Berru Davis and Sisters Moira and Ruth will highlight the theological acumen and insights of these women, as well as their own learning that emerged from this venture to curate Church, Community, Creativity.

September 24, 2015
Catherine Bohn-Gettler

Gorecki 203 (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
Going to Pieces: How Do Emotions Influence Learning & Comprehension?
In educational settings, it is vital that students comprehend content presented aurally, visually, and textually. To date, much research in the fields of cognitive and educational psychology have focused on the strategies and processes successful learners engage in when attempting to understand text. However, real educational settings are not cold settings devoid of emotion: They are dynamic settings in which student learning varies as a function of the classroom environment, students’ own skills and emotions, the content students are learning, and more. This forum will describe a line of research examining how, and under what conditions, emotions can affect the cognitive strategies students engage in when attempting to learn from text. The results from several studies converge on findings indicating that emotions do, in fact, play an important role in comprehension. However, emotions only play a role under certain conditions, and the degree to which they modify processing is influenced by individual difference variables (e.g., working memory), the textual content (e.g., whether the reading requires constructive processing), and the nature of the task (e.g., goals for learning). Specifically, positive emotions can facilitate inference generation and creative processing, whereas negatively valenced emotions may hinder such processing. These findings indicate that, when researching and attempting to increase learning in our students, we should consider more than just their cognitive development and strategic processing. Instead, we should consider student learning more holistically: Factors that are less goal-driven, such as affect and emotion, can play a critical role in attention, strategy use, and learning.

October 1, 2015
Qiang Yan

Gorecki 203 (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
Besides Aunt Jemima: A Socio-Historical Interpretation of Stereotyped Images in Mass Media
Using multiple sources of data, this study reveals that negative stereotyping is widespread in ads and in other forms of mass media. The widespread stereotyping also implies that it is necessary to extend the study scope from racial to social stereotyping to help us correctly understand the deeper roots or hidden patterns of this social problem, which is beneficiary to design responding solutions. We also illustrate that social and cultural contexts shaped the emergence and evolvement of negative stereotyping. This study proposes that HRM, which is powerful for the study of dynamic features of contextual effects, can be employed as an effective way to find negative stereotyping in mass media and to analyze the severity of negative stereotypes.

October 8, 2015
Erica Stonestreet & Brian Campbell

Little Theatre (Quad 346) - SJU
Team Teaching Philosophy of Music: Experiences and Reflections
Our presentation will be an account and reflection upon team teaching
an interdisciplinary course: The Philosophy of Music. We will begin with the question that prompted us to design the course: what does music mean? and, assuming it has any meaning at all, how does it convey the meaning? After giving a taste of the content, we will reflect on the experience of team-teaching a course that spans our respective disciplines. We will explain how the course came about and how we prepared to teach it, highlighting our process and the challenges of designing a truly interdisciplinary course. We'll discuss our thoughts about the success of the course and compare these with comments from the students. Finally, we will make a plea for the value of interdisciplinary team-taught courses for both faculty and students at a liberal arts college.

October 15, 2015
Barry Hudock

Quad 264- SJU
John Courtney Murray at Vatican II: A Theological Adventure
No American Catholic has had greater impact on Catholic doctrine than Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ. Through his careful scholarship, courage in the face of powerful opposition, and a delicate balance of faithfulness to tradition with theological creativity, Murray influenced Catholic teaching on religious freedom in a dramatic way.

This presentation tells Murray's dramatic story, from his silencing by church authorities to his ultimate vindication at the Second Vatican Council. It's of special interest as we mark the 50th anniversary, this fall, of the Council's historic Declaration on Religious Freedom.

October 22, 2015
Alexandra Miller, Sustainability Fellow, and Judy Purman, CSB Director of Sustainability

Gorecki 203 (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
What is ‘sustainability’ and how do you know if you’re ‘doing it?’ 
Sustainability and ‘being green’ are common buzz words, but what do they really mean and how do we know if we’re ‘doing it?’ What is a carbon footprint and how does that relate to being sustainable? What initiatives and projects are going on around us? Why should I want to be involved? We will address these questions and more at this Thursday Forum.

October 29, 2015
Vincent Smiles

Gorecki 203 (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
Mismeasuring Humanity
There is, on the one hand, what Daniel Dennett calls “the contemporary orthodoxy,” which insists that the mind is the brain, and that humans are deluded about the power of consciousness and freedom. On the other hand, very recently there has been something of a growing flood of protests against this “orthodoxy,” and it is by no means coming only from theologians. This talk will review some studies that protest what they see as the mismeasuring of humanity, and will aim to show that when it comes to asking “what is a human being?” the sciences and humanities have essential common ground from which to address the question.

November 5, 2015
Aubrey Immelman

Gorecki 203 (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
Personality profiles of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates
Aubrey Immelman and his summer research assistants (Joe Trenzeluk, Atarah Pinder, and Hannah Hoppe) will present summaries of the psychological profiles of most of the Republican contenders in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and outline the leadership implications of those profiles. (I will provide a more detailed description if this proposal is accepted.)

November 12, 2015
Ellen Block

Quad 264 - SJU
AIDS is a Kinship Disease: Caring for AIDS orphans in Lesotho, Africa
AIDS has devastated communities across southern Africa. In Lesotho, where a quarter of the population is infected, the wide reaching implications of AIDS have been felt in every family and disrupted every aspect of social life. While HIV can be contracted through casual sexual relationships, it spreads primarily through family and sexual lines and through other interpersonal relationships in painfully intimate ways. In this talk, I consider the wide-reaching impact of HIV on families with a focus on the care of orphaned children. Through the stories and experiences of people living with and caring for AIDS orphans, I will highlight the structural inequalities that have led to the soaring HIV-prevalence rates; discuss how culture impacts people’s responses to the disease; and reflect on my most recent fieldwork, where I investigated how the increasingly common death of HIV-free grandmothers is impacting the orphans in their care. I will talk about why AIDS is a “kinship disease” in how it impacts families and communities as much as it impacts the body. Finally, I will present some ideas about what kinds of approaches might work to improve the situation of AIDS orphans in southern Africa and beyond.

November 19, 2015
Kyhl Lyndgaard

Little Theatre (Quad 346) - SJU 
Exploring the Literature of Energy
Energy scholar Vaclav Smil wrote, “Tug at any human use of energy and you will find its effects cascading throughout society.” Too often public discussions of energy-related issues become gridlocked in debates concerning cost, environmental degradation, and the plausibility (or implausibility) of innovative technologies. But the topic of energy is much broader and deeper than these debates typically reveal.

The literature of energy bears this out—and takes the notion further, revealing in vivid stories and images how energy permeates the fundamental nature of existence. My presentation will draw on my co-edited anthology Currents of the Universal Being: Explorations in the Literature of Energy (Texas Tech UP, 2015). Readings in this collection encompass a wide array of topics, from addiction to oil to life “off the grid,” from the power of the atom to the power of bicycle technology. In my Forum presentation, I argue that energy is a defining topic of our time and that the humanities have as much to say about it as do the sciences. After noting a wide array of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and interviews—ranging from Sinclair Lewis’s depictions of trains in Main Street to poetry by Muriel Rukeyser to Sandra Steingraber’s recent writing on the subject of fracking—I will lead a discussion to further explore the emerging field of the energy humanities.

December 3, 2015
Qiang Yan and Kingshuk 

Gorecki 203 (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
Old Bottles but New Wines---A Theoretical Comparison of Working Ethics in Small Chinese Firms and Small Indian Companies
In this study, we compare how different working cultures affect employee's working ethics in small business in India and China. We find that some elements that define working ethics may be culture-driven, while others are not.

December 10, 2015
Becky Van Ness

Gorecki 203  (Pres. Conf. Room) - CSB
Learning to be Present to Another: Insights for Christians from Buddhism
Learning to be present to another requires more than practical listening skills. A contemplative approach transforms the process of listening into a spiritual endeavor. Concepts from “Buddhist psychology” can deepen our understanding of Christian teachings on how in grow in the ability to be contemplatively present:

1. “You do not exist the way you think you do.”
(Buddhism: no-self)
“Not I, but Christ lives within me.”
(Christianity: interior freedom)

2. “Drop the story and find the feeling.”
(Buddhism: mindfulness)
“Stay with the inner movement.”
(Christianity: sacrament of the present moment)
3. “Cultivate unconditional friendliness with
oneself and all beings.” (Buddhism: loving-kindness)
“Abide in loving relationship with self,
others and God.”
(Christianity: Trinitarian love)